as heAs US President, Joe Biden is facing criticism from the family of , Palestinian-American journalist who was killed in May while covering an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank. The death of the Al Jazeera correspondent drew worldwide condemnation, and while the Biden administration has invited her family to come to Washington, Abu Aklah’s niece told CBS News she feels justice has not been served.
Cameras captured the final moments of Abu Aqleh as she lay unconscious on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head. Rescuers were still dodging bullets flying in the air to try to reach him and provide first aid, but it was too late.
“Our initial reaction to Shireen’s murder was shock, sadness, anger,” Shireen’s niece Lina Abu Akleh told CBS News correspondent Ian Lee four days after the incident.
When asked who she and her family were to blame for Shirin’s death, Lena didn’t hesitate: “Israel, of course,” she said. “And they should be held accountable.”
She also wants accountability for the chaos at her aunt’s funeral in Jerusalem, whenAlmost knocking on the coffin carrying Abu Akleh’s body to the ground.
Two months later, a UN investigation has blamed Israeli security forces for the journalist’s death, but Israeli officials say they have not reached a definitive conclusion.
a US State DepartmentWhile the Israeli gunfire was “likely to be responsible”, there was “no reason to believe” it was a deliberate killing.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in early July that “ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, leaving no clear conclusion” about who fired the bullet, when the results of the US investigation were announced.
“We were disappointed that they would not take this matter seriously and that they would not hold Israel accountable,” Lena Abu Akleh told CBS News on Wednesday, as President Biden touched down in Israel.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has invited his family to visit the US capital, but they still want to meet Mr Biden while he is in Israel.
“We want him to listen to us – personally to listen to our demands, our concerns and our calls for accountability and justice,” Lina told Lee. “We are demanding accountability not only for the soldier who is shooting, but the full chain of command who gave the command.”
Lena said that she also wants an FBI investigation into the shooting with complete transparency and that the world should remember her aunt.
“Shirin was not just a journalist,” she said. “She wasn’t just a Palestinian. She wasn’t just an American. At the end of the day, Shireen was a human being, and her life is important.”